Your Amazon seller rating is one of your best tools for making more sales.
When a buyer looks at your product among listings from other sellers, they have two things to base their buying decision on: value and trust. You can compete on value with lower prices and better shipping options. To compete on trust, though, you need an excellent Amazon seller rating.
Last updated 8/21/2018.
Why Amazon Seller Ratings Are Important
Amazon seller ratings are prominently displayed when customers look at the buying options for a product. In fact, the ratings are even more eye-catching than the prices. Just look at this example for a bundle of glow sticks:
It’s easy to tell which seller will attract the most buyers. TARANE immediately appears to be the most trustworthy (they have the only perfect score). Plus, they offer the best value (the lowest price combined with the same free shipping as the next two sellers). That killer combination means it’s almost no contest.
But this isn't just about chasing a carrot. Amazon also has a stick to threaten with: the Order Defect Rate. Every time you get a one- or two-star seller rating, Amazon considers the order defective. If at least 1% of your orders are defective, Amazon might restrict your selling privileges!
How Seller Ratings Work
Seller ratings are quite straightforward. Customers rate you anywhere from 1 to 5 stars, then Amazon displays the average. All you have to do is make your customers happy and get those 5-star reviews!
Example: Say you get four 5-star ratings and one 2-star rating. 22 stars / 25 possible = 88% average, or 4.4 stars. This would look like a four-and-a-half star rating to potential customers.
That wasn't the case when we first wrote this article back in 2015:
In the Past
A completely satisfactory delivery was worth 100 points. If little things didn’t go perfectly, then Amazon would start to chip points off of your score. On the other hand, you could get bonus points for exceptional service if you did everything right and delivered ahead of schedule. Scores were averaged together to create seller ratings.
It was a fairly complex algorithm, with more weight placed on recent sales than previous ones, but it basically worked like this:
If you got a 90 on one sale and a 100 on the other two, you’d have a score of about 97.
If you got a 0 on one sale and a 100 on the other two, you’d have a score of about 67. Ouch!
Just like with your credit rating, doing one thing wrong did a lot more to hurt you than doing one thing right did to help.
How to Get a 5-Star Rating
The rating system has changed, but the strategy for getting those 5 perfect stars has stayed the same. Here are the best ways to keep your customers happy and get more positive feedback:
1. Deliver As Promised
The first thing customers will judge you for is simple: do you actually do what you say you will?
This first applies to delivering when you promise to. If your listing says the item will arrive by a certain date and then doesn't, your customers will get upset fast.
Customers rarely care if you failed to ship on time because you missed the email or had your internet connection down at the time. Many don't even care if it's the carrier's fault rather than yours.
You should always have systems in place to make sure every delivery ships when you say it will. Deliver ahead of schedule whenever you can. If you don't use FBA, consider underselling by making more room for handling time than you really need. (Just don't go too far or nobody will want to buy from the slowpoke seller!)
Delivering as promised also applies to delivering what you promise to. Running out of stock or sending the buyer an item that doesn't perfectly match your listing can be catastrophic. The problems from these issues go beyond getting negative feedback:
- A pre-fulfilment cancel rate of 2.5% or higher can get your selling privileges restricted.
- An item that isn't as described can get you hammered with an A-to-z Guarantee claim.
2. Communicate with Your Customer—Quickly
Amazon does not make room for weekends and holidays. If the customer sends you a message, Amazon expects you to respond within 24 hours. (If that feels impossible, you can set up an Amazon autoresponder to meet Amazon's requirement.)
It isn’t just Amazon with these high expectations; 41% of your customers expect you to respond within six hours. With every minute that passes, your risk of a customer becoming upset and giving you negative feedback increases. Always respond as quickly as possible.
Efficient communication is also essential to following our next tip:
3. Provide Great Customer Service
If a customer demands a refund (within reason), then provide it quickly and professionally. Customer ratings determine your seller score, and negative feedback can hurt a lot. But worse things can happen.
Those “worse things” are customers seeking assistance from Amazon under the A-to-z Guarantee.
Forcing Amazon to step in and solve the problem will go about as well as poking a bear. You’ll get mauled with an order defect if they settle the claim in favor of the buyer. If more than 1% of your orders are defective, Amazon may restrict your selling priveleges.
The best way to avoid this sort of situation is, again, rapid communication with your customers. Make them feel like you are responding to anything they bring up and willing to help them with all their problems. Fast assistance can quickly defuse anger and prevent them from turning to Amazon.
We use Zendesk to manage communications for our own Amazon selling business and keep our seller ratings—and therefore our sales—high. In fact, that’s why we invented ChannelReply—to enable smooth, rapid communication between eBay/Amazon and Zendesk. You can visit our homepage to learn more about our Amazon-Zendesk integration.
4. Use Feedback Requests Effectively
A well-written Amazon feedback request can easily win you a five-star rating from a customer who would never have left you feedback. Sometimes, it can even turn a potential negative rating into a positive! Learn how to write awesome feedback requests here.
The Short Answer
All in all, getting a great Amazon seller rating is pretty straightforward:
- Run your business honestly.
- Make your deliveries as soon as possible.
- Respond to customers quickly.
- Send out well-written feedback requests.
Do that, and soon customers will clearly see you as the best seller on the list.
For a better understanding of Amazon's rules, read up on their seller return policy, general return policy, and refund policy. Alternatively, find out how to make your customers happier with our online customer service tips or by mastering the art of providing exceptional service.